I'm almost at the end of my February Blog Crawl. It's been fun but a little crazy. I'm not sure I could do this more than once a year!

 

The Post - Being Precise

I know that language changes over time. It has to. I know that clinging to the old ways is futile and might make me seem cantankerous or even silly. But it was my job, for three decades, to guard the language, to see that people under my care used it clearly rather than sloppily, thinking about what they wanted to convey as well as what other people might make of it. So I'm going to list some things that seem to me worth keeping in our language.

PLEASE KEEP distinctions between similar words. People who are aware of the differences listed here are disappearing, yet there is good reason for keeping their separate meanings.

nauseated/nauseous-People become nauseated when they encounter something that is nauseous.

might/may-I might call and ask you if I may take you out to dinner.

farther/further-He went farther in the marathan than anyone else so he could further the cause of Grammatical Awareness.

fewer than/less than- She ate fewer M&M's than he did but drank less soda.

bust/burst-The police burst through the door to bust the drug dealers.

PLEASE USE the correct word or word form. If we think as we speak (gasp!) we might recall the things we were taught. Yes, grammar rules change, but it's hard to have a sensible system when usage is sloppy. I say keep the simple rules and do away with the goofy ones. The examples below result from not thinking about what is being said.

Say, "Drive slowly" not "drive slow". The verb should be modified by an adverb that tells how the driving is to be done.  We can add that things should taste "really good" as well, since adjectives are modified by adverbs just as verbs are.

Write "I'm supposed to" instead of "I'm suppose to". Since we've lost the sense of the word "suppose" in this phrase, which was originally something like "it is supposed (expected) that I will do this" we have begun to lose the form it should take, too.

Write "I would have" instead of "I would of". It's easy to explain, difficult to fix. People hear “of" not "have", so they spell the word they hear, despite the fact that it makes no sense. (Perhaps we shouldn't worry. It seems to be turning into "woulda", anyway.)

I do not contend that being precise will save your soul, make you healthier, or turn the economy around. I just like it a lot (that should be TWO words) when people speak and write precisely.

 

The Prizes-Weekly prizes (your choice of THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY in e- or print format) drawn from the names of those who comment on the blogs as we go. Comment once/day, but the first commenter each day gets entered twice in Saturday’s drawing!

 

The Pathway: The next entry and the answers/comments to the Poser will be up tomorrow at http://criminalmindsatwork.blogspot.com/

 

The Pitch: THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, First in The Dead Detective Mysteries, paranormal mystery. Tori Van Camp wakes in a stateroom on a cruise ship with no memory of booking a cruise, but she does have a vivid recollection of being shot in the chest. Determined to find out what happened and why, Tori enlists the help of an odd detective named Seamus. Together they embark on an investigation like nothing she’s ever experienced. Death is all around her, and unless they act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder. Read more about this book and the author at http://pegherring.com or buy the book at http://www.ll-publications.com/deaddetectiveagency.html.

 

The Perpetrator: Peg Herring writes historical and contemporary mysteries. She loves everything about publishing, even editing (most days). Peg’s historical series, The Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, debuted in 2010 to great reviews. The second in the series will be available in November from Five Star.

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